Through the Washington Channel between Isla Bayly and Isla Wollaston in the southernmost chunk of Chile, the iPad displayed the Navionics chart set of the Caribbean and South America. Captain Henk declared them more detailed than his own paper and electronic charts. They showed anchorages, land features, depths, distances, and hazards. They let us set waypoints and record the track of our progress on a 10-inch 1024-by-768-pixel display. At $600 for the iPad and $50 for the software and charts, the iPad compares favorably with dedicated chart plotters. We didn't use the iNavX or GPS Motion X chart systems at the bottom of the world, but we use them all summer long at home. Of course we also carry paper charts, but our day-to-day navigation tool has shifted to the iPad. Its built-in GPS is quicker and its display bigger than most dedicated devices, and its pinch-to-zoom feature takes advantage of a natural gesture to scale in and out.
Alas, we had to take the iPad below when the rain started—with no resealable bag to protect it, we knew it wouldn't survive the sprinkling. But even under Sarah's steel dodger, the tablet managed to get a signal and plot our course through the islands at the tip of South America. Many sailors have found the iPad to be a competent and useful support to their navigation.